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Is the telephone dead?

If you were told that you will save $50 per month by removing the function to make and receive voice calls from all your phones, would you do it? What if you only did very few calls every month? Could you actually live without making or receiving any phone calls? I would guess for the vast majority of people, the answer is no! But, depending on how old you are and what you do, you may answer this question differently. Today, businesses and consumers have an abundance of ways to communicate. However, after about 140 years, the telephone is still the most common way to communicate with anyone.

E-Mail has taken over much of the B2B communications but has since become risky with the proliferation of “Ransomware” attacks (Some reports indicate that they are currently about 5 billion e-mail accounts and growing roughly at 6% annually).  Video conferencing, in all of its forms, is emerging as the new communication powerhouse. While pundits claim that cold calling for sales is dead, the telephone is still an effective tool when it comes to one-on-one communications. We find that when we e-mail someone and follow up with a call or leave a personal voice message, it significantly increases the response rates. Telemarketing has simply become part of the overall communications mix.

So, how does the telephone fit into this new world of digital communications?

The simple answer is VoIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) and more specifically Cloud-VoIP. Today, the functions of your VoIP telephone are incredible and managing it has become as easy as plug-and-play. With VoIP, you can place calls from any Internet access and with features like integrated unified communications, you can listen to and forward your voice messages through e-mail. The benefits and cost savings of VoIP are truly remarkable. It’s an obvious solution that every VAR and MSP should be offering to their business clients, yet most do not sell it!

So why isn’t every company using VoIP? Moreover, why are there still many companies stuck in the traditional use of the “landline” telephone? Well, there is one big prerequisite with VoIP. You need a reliable and high performance Internet connection. So depending on where you are, your decision to adopt VoIP will vary.
Why should any business switch to VoIP?

We went through this exact process about 6 years ago when we put all of our communication vehicles under deep review. At that time, we were using the traditional on-premises PBX with landlines for over 20 years!

Fortunately, we had already made a decision to have high-performance Internet access many years prior so we already had the right infrastructure. Yet, we kept pushing off the decision to adopt VoIP (primarily because of the voice quality and reliability).

The hardest part in our VoIP transition was choosing the right VoIP vendor. After testing calls between the vendor’s VoIP system to and from our landlines we settled with a provider that had the best voice quality.

The first real benefit was the unified communications function that would take our voice mail and push it into our e-mail system so we can listen, forward or delete from e-mail. Calling in to get voice mails was eradicated completely. We did not notice any downside to using the VoIP system.

The bottom line is that we saw a 73% monthly cost savings over the older system (excluding high-speed Internet access and the initial cost of the VoIP phones). Configuration of the system was also simplified so that just about anyone could do it.

Today’s VoIP solutions are much more powerful and reliable and most people have since gotten use to fluctuating voice quality in calls (I think cell phone talk quality has literally reset expectations). Besides the cost of the high-speed Internet access requirements, I am not sure what is the argument against VoIP today. Since more companies are levering the Cloud, high-speed access seems to be a fundamental business requirement.

What VoIP Solution should the channel sell?

Many channel partners tell me that they tried and failed to sell VoIP solutions in the past. If the VoIP system went down or if the connectivity was poor, they did not want to take on the support responsibility. They also felt that the money that they made did not justify the added risk versus reward. With these and other criteria, we started our investigation to find the right VoIP solution for our channel community to sell.

We have since showcased several solutions at our ChannelNEXT conferences over the past few years that looks promising. One in particular that has gotten our attention recently is “ConnectMeVoice”. The company was founded in 1991 by Scott Seltzer, a true technology industry veteran who started with IBM back in the eighties.

It seems like ConnectMeVoice may have figured out the sweet spot of channel partners. From what I see, this company has checked off all the must-have boxes for channel partners and their end-customers.

Their solution is entirely in the cloud. Web portal configuration is simple. No long term contracts. They keep the long distance calling cost low. Plus you get all of the standard call-management features including cool stuff like custom music on hold. More importantly is the quality of the product and their support that removes the burden from their partners with proactive resolution even before the customer is aware of a problem.

They also offer a variety of the high-quality brands of VoIP telephones. The solution seems to be very lucrative for channel partners to sell and make significant recurring revenue. Maybe they can make it simple and profitable for you to get into the telephony selling game immediately.

We will continue to monitor this company and bring you some of their growing successes. Check them out and let us know what you think. Listen to a podcast interview that I did with Scott Seltzer, founder of ConnectMeVoice.